Friday, January 5, 2001

McQ's Best of 2009 - Recommended Mixes Volume 8 - Dream Pop

Ambient, Shoegaze, Post Rock, Experimental, Dub, Chamber Pop, Chillwave, Dream Pop...the boundaries between these various, buried-vocal genres have been fading, and they all gel here, in this, the most original and forward looking of the 2009 collection. If Rise of the Inscrutables was a mix of a creative movement reaching it's zenith, this is the sound of a new movement just getting started. Be prepared to hear a lot more of this kind of stuff in the years to come.  Listen/Subscribe On Spotify!

01/01/2012 Update: To date, this is the most popular of all the mixes I have ever assembled.


Solid Recommends: No Way Down - Air France (2008), The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - s/t, Seek Magic - The Memory Tapes

Mild Recommends: Ashes Grammer - A Sunny Day In Glasgow, Choral - Mountains, Logos - Atlas Sound, Unmap - Volcano Choir

Not Recommended: Real Estate - s/t, The Hawk Is Howling - Mogwai, No More Stories Are Told Today..... - Mew

1. Swimming Field - The Memory Tapes
2. Contender - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
3. Walkabout (Featuring Panda Bear) - Atlas Sound
4. Close Chorus - A Sunny Day In Glasgow
5. Telescope - Mountains
6. June Evenings - Air France
7. Beach Comber - Real Estate
8. The Sun Smells Too Loud - Mogwai
9. Repeaterbeater - Mew
10. Bicycle - The Memory Tapes
11. Bear - The Antlers
12. Failure - A Sunny Day In Glasgow
13. Quick Canal (Featuring Leatitia Sadier) - Atlas Sound
14. Island, Is - Volcano Choir
15. Young Adult Friction - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart


No Way Down - Air France (2008): Easily my favorite album on this mix, a joyful 23 minute burst of airy, slightly disco-y, dream pop bliss. If you like mix inclusion June Evenings, I can pretty much guarantee you'll like the whole thing.

Ashes Grammer - A Sunny Day In Glasgow: A kinder, gentler take on My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. Nowhere near as good, with nowhere near the edge, but is definitely striving to hit the same sweet spot. Shoegaze fans should definitely check this one out, more conventionally minded listeners...not so much.

Choral - Mountains: Nice but unspectacular experimental/ambient album, reminds me most of Fennesz in feel, though the arrangements are more traditionally orchestral. Pretty/soothing in the background, but not always that engaging as a foregrounded listen.

Logos - Atlas Sound: Deerhunter mastermind Branford Cox's second solo effort is the same spotty mix of meandering ambience and shoegaze with the occassional more structured highlight, but unlike the debut, the highlights on this album...Shelia, Walkabout, Quick Canal...are flat out amazing. I've included the best two of those three here, but be sure to sample some of the other tracks on itunes before delving I said, the rest is pretty meandering.

Unmap - Volcano Choir: Interesting but ultimately only marginally successful side-step for Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, lending his ghostly vocal presence, sometimes quite effectively, to this collection of moody, almost ambient abstractions. Island, Is, included in this mix, is the definite standout, and along with Still, the closest the album comes to an actual song, but some may enjoy diving in to the albums odder textures. But beforwarned...if you like your music remotely structured, this is not the album for you.

The Hawk Is Howling - Mogwai: I truly enjoy the light track I included here from these post rock veterans, but nothing else on this collection of minor key instrumental mopers rises beyond wretchedly dull. Easily the worst album in their somewhat celebrated career and a definite skip.

No More Stories Will Be Told Today...- Mew: Mix the twee-pop vocal sensibilities of say Death Cab for Cutie or The Weakerthans with the soft jam sensibilites of Minus The Bear, and wrap it all up in a very proggy end-of-the-world narrative, and that's pretty much what get in this more miss than hit experimental stew. Some may like the combination, best exemplified in Repeaterbeater included here, but for me, very, very little of this album works. A pass in my book.

To Listen to or Download Tracks from this Mix
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